Last night, we watched Casablanca. We watch a lot of old movies, but last night, it was Casablanca, arguably the best of breed. The greatest of the great.

There are other, more exciting movies, more thrilling movies, though I find Casablanca pretty thrilling. What Casablanca gives us is immersion into the war where the passionately dedicated French underground is fighting for freedom and the world is full of the anti-Nazi heroism of ordinary people, willing to put their lives on the line for the greater good.

“What if you killed all of us? From every corner of Europe, hundreds, thousands would rise up to take our places. Even Nazis can’t kill that fast.”

Not the way it was, but the way we wanted (maybe needed) it to be. Even now, we want the grandeur of people at their finest. Truth be damned.

And love. Undying love that lasts through war and loss, no matter what the world brings. As we watched — and we know the movie well enough to hear the line coming — Garry looked at me and I grinned back. Wait for it … wait for it … Ah, there..

“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine…”

There’s the first of many great lines, There are many more. We went to the movies to see Casablanca on The Big Screen when TCM sponsored a release of the 1943 Oscar-winning classic a few years ago.

“We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.”

The filming of the movie was a crazy time. The script was written — and it’s a great script — page by page. The actors didn’t know what they’d be doing any day until the pages arrived. The set was chaotic and Ingrid Bergman wasn’t happy. Bogie was underpaid — a bad contract with Warner’s he had signed before he was a big star. Casablanca went a long way to fix that. Claude Rains earned more than Bogie —  arguably worth it.

(Standing in front of the plane in the fog.) “I’m saying this because it’s true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”

“…But what about us?”

However it happened, Casablanca is movie magic. Brilliant, witty script that plays even better on the big screen than it does at home.

“…When I said I would never leave you…”

“And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”

(Ilsa lowers her head and begins to cry.)

“Now, now…”

(Rick gently places his hand under her chin and raises it so their eyes meet, and he repeats–)

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Maybe it’s something about how differently we focus when we watch it in a theater than when we see it at home, with the dogs, the refrigerator, and a “pause” button. A difference in the “presence” of the film. The clarity of the visual presentation.

“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

I’m sure it was and somewhere, it still is.

Categories: dialogue, film, Movies

Tags: , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. Not sure this was mentioned elsewhere..Madeline LeBeau (sp?), the last surviving “Casablanca” cast member…died recently. She was the singer in Rick’s cafe.


  2. It is definitely my favorite movie. I watched it two weeks ago. I watch it every year or two. It is beautifully crafted. Many of the extras were refugees from Europe to give it more of an authentic feel. It has a superb cast. All parts shine. Play it once Sam, for old times sake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry records it every time it shows up on TCM … and we have it on DVD, just in case we need a fix. We saw it twice in the moves when TCM sent it around on tour and it really was a different experience … but yes, it’s the top of heap for me in classic movies. Apparently it was total chaos on the set when it was being filmed. Amazing how beautifully it came out.


  3. It’s a classic.


  4. I love old movies because I actually recognize the actors and even know their names. Now that I’ve said that, I have to admit I’ve never seen Casablanca. Hanging my head in shame here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you have managed to miss it, it will be a treat when you do see it. Unlike many old movies, it really holds its own, even today. As long as you don’t examine the history too closely, but that’s true of most war movies. It’s probably available on Netflix and it shows up on TCM regularly.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The back stories are also legendary.
    – Ronald Reagan, Ann Sheridan and Dennis Morgan were originally considered for the leads.
    – dialogue was often hustled onto sets as shots were set up.
    – legendary director, Michael Curtiz, went head to head and toe to toe with Jack Warner..and always won.
    – Screenwriter Julius Epstein confirmed lots of the “Casablanca” stories in an early 70’s interview done as he plugged “Travels With My Aunt” along with another legend, George Cukor. What an afternoon!!


  6. One of my all time favorites that I never tire of seeing- thanks for sharing all the really memorable parts Marilyn!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It has absolutely EVERYTHING going for it. Definitely one of our very favourite films.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. one of my favorites –

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My sister and I watched this on board the cruise ship on our first night, We hoped it would set the tone for the movies during the rest of the trip but sadly it was the only classic movie they showed. You can’t get tired of seeing Casablanca.

    Liked by 1 person

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